Archive for April, 2010

Falafels in a box!

The weather outside is definitely frightful today… rain, rain and more rain!  I’m sure the trees and flowers are loving it, but despite my affinity with plant-life, enjoying getting rained on is not something that we share.  Summer rains are a whole different beast of course, but that’s because I strangely enjoy thunder and lighting.  Plus getting wet when it’s warm out is far different than a 40 degree, cold, rainy day.  Clearly I needed something warm, spicy and comforting to dry me out from the inside out!  Enter the falafel.  

I seriously love falafel, yet for some reason I have never in my life tried to make it before!  Since this was my first time and all, I um, used a mix.  😳   Don’t judge!!  It was actually pretty amazing… I highly recommend it.

I used the Fantastic Foods brand mix because the ingredients were all natural and mostly organic and it was 100% vegan.  True, I’m not a full vegan (and even had a tiny bit of yogurt with these), but I mainly eat a diet that is 90% vegan out of personal preference.  

These were to die for… both in salad form and gyro form!  I topped it with some homemade tzatziki/cacik sauce.  I didn’t have cucumber so it wasn’t traditional and I kind of melded the two recipes anyway.  I used 0% plain Chobani, 1 clove garlic mashed into paste, a dash dried mint, 1/2 tsp dried dill, 1 tbsp finely minced white onion, salt to taste, and the juice from 1/2 a lemon.  Divine!

Well I’m off to catch up on some episodes of Life.  Sooo obsessed with that show!  If you guys have never seen it you should totally check it out – it’s on Discovery Channel and has some of the most amazing animal/nature shots I’ve ever seen.

April 26, 2010 at 5:53 pm 4 comments

Heal the world (and my legs!)

Happy Earth Day everybody!!  It’s been a few days since the marathon, but I am finally feeling like my old self.  Despite a little lingering muscle soreness, I was itching to get moving today.  I didn’t want to push it though and cause any  trauma to my legs since they’re still healing from the marathon so I figured it was a good day for the pool.  20 laps and I called it a day!

I was hungry and soo not in the mood to cook tonight so I just broiled a few Dr. Praegers Cali burgers and had them over a bed of lettuce with some Dijon mustard.

…with a side of sauerkraut of course and some steamed edamame sprinkled with salt.

Dessert was ah-mazing – Earth Day Ice Cream!  I threw about 2 chopped frozen bananas, a handful of spinach and a tiny splash of peppermint extract into my Cuisinart and blended until the consistency of soft-serve ice cream, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides.    Topped with some agave mixed + cocoa powder.   It was love at first bite! 😀

In honor of Earth Day, try to do your part in going green.  Caring about the environment really matters, not just for you but for the future generation as well.  Who doesn’t want to keep the world clean for their future kiddies?  Here’s a few ways I try to do my part:

  • Taking public transportation/ walking as much as possible
  • Buying organic, locally grown foods as much as possible
  • Eating mostly vegan (learn how eating meat affects the environment HERE)
  • Bringing cloth bags to the grocery store
  • Educating those around me about how to help

April 22, 2010 at 8:19 pm 4 comments

26.2 miles

I did it!!  I finished the Boston Marathon on Monday in 3 hrs 37 min!!!  That race was hands down the most incredible experience of my life – the sheer difficulty with all the hills, the intensity of the crowd that pushed me forward – it was so unforgettable.  I actually re-qualified for Boston 2011 by running as well!  Here’s the race recap:  

Monday morning I was terrified… the buses were picking up the first wave runners (me) between 6-6:45 to get to the start, even though the race wouldnt begin until 10am.  This meant that the fiance couldn’t come with me and I’d have the deal with my nerves by myself – gulp!  

Thankfully the line to get on the bus lasted almost an hour so I had time to calm down and breathe before getting on the bus.  Once on the bus I met the NICEST man ever who was running his 6th Boston Marathon and calmed my nerves.  He even walked me to the port-a-John’s, then to drop off my bag at the baggage area, and then sent me off to the start since he was in the 2nd wave.  Runners are such nice people!! Mile 7 I started mentally talking myself down for some reason, but then I saw these guys plugging along and had renewed energy and resolve to soldier on (no pun intended)!  

The downhill portion worried me because I was afraid of going too fast, so the first 7 miles I made sure I was on pace to run a 3:50 marathon – slower than normal, but I wasn’t looking for a good time.  Then came the hills… oh man were they never ending!  Basically miles 16-21 were hellish.  Heartbreak Hill my rear-end – more like Heartbreaking HILLS.  

Finally the end was in sight!  I saw my sis and her husband and stopped for a quick hug and then continued on to the finish!  A little furry man was waiting to congratulate me at the end…

My biggest supporter 🙂  Thanks babe!

We walked back to the hotel for a quick beer before the loooong trip home.

I didn’t get back to my apt until 9pm!  Unfortunately for me, this meant I didn’t re-fuel properly and I am currently writing this from my couch as I have been sidelined and working from home the past two days.  Thankfully my boss is wonderful and understands.

My final thoughts??  I would definitely do this again.  I’m taking some time off running for a week and racing for a little while after that, but honestly, I’d love to run Boston again.  It was just so amazing and helped me get over my fear of races (even though it was my second).  Having to be by myself at the start and not see anyone until mile 25 made me realize I do have the strength to do this and I am a capable and incredible person.  Sometimes confidence can be found in the strangest places. 🙂

April 21, 2010 at 11:34 am 11 comments

Naner ice cream!!

Ice cream anyone?  Well, not exactly – it’s Banana Soft-Serve!!  I got this recipe from the lovely Gena of Choosing Raw and am in love my friends.  Simply throw some frozen bananas in your food processor (and if you’re like me and love spice, add a big dash of cinnamon) and blend until the consistency of ice cream!!  

Drizzled with some agave nectar mixed with raw cocoa powder.  

On to the serious stuff… This morning I read a really inspiring post on http://ohsheglows.com/s blog concerning negative comments from others, which you guys should definitely read if you haven’t already: Click Here!

A part of life is learning to deal with the negative.  Negative thoughts are bad, but at least you have the power to change them, negative comments from others, well… you don’t have much control there.  What you can control though is how you let it affect you.  Remember, most negative comments are a reflection of that person’s insecurities, not due to a problem with you.

I have gotten tons of negative comments related to not eating meat, running marathons, not drinking a ton… you name it.  I admit these comments can be tough when I’m already having a bad day, but I always do my best to follow them up with a positive thought about myself in my head.  Arguing with people who want to put you down will get you nowhere.  People who think you’re a freak for not eating meat, will continue to think so no matter what you say until they decide to open their minds.  One of my favorite quotes from “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer addresses this – “It’s always possible to wake someone from sleep, but no amount of noise will wake someone who is pretending to be asleep.” So true.

So lovies, do what makes you happy and keep your head high.  On Monday I will set out to tackle the Boston Marathon.  I will do this knowing that there are people out there who don’t understand what I’m doing, who have told me it will hurt me, kill me, render me unable to have children (umm yeah), etc.  I will with those people’s negative comments pushing me from behind like a gentle wind helping me move forward, and I will not stop there.  I will continue to race in the future.  I will continue to make health-conscious food choices in the future. I will continue to silently prove the naysayers wrong.  I don’t need a soapbox to change minds, I just need to be kind and show others by example that there is more than one way to live your life and be happy (and healthy).

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

April 16, 2010 at 7:04 pm 6 comments

Indian Food… Thursday?

Last night I tried to celebrate Indian Food Wednesday a la The Fitnessista, but silly me – my Chana Dal beans had to be soaked for 6-8 hours first!!  …which I realized after I added all the spices.   😳   Needless to say, we ended up ordering out and deciding to leave the beans and spices to soak in the pot overnight for dinner tonight.  I hit the pool after work today for a good mile swim since I’m cutting down my running for the Boston Marathon on Monday – eek!  When I came back the deliciousness started simmering away…   

Along with some homemade Chapati bread made from simply white wheat flour, salt & water.

And a lovely salad with tomatoes, capers and a simple vinaigrette.  Delicioso!  I used Mark Bittman’s recipes from “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” for the dal and chapati, although I had to make some subs in the dal recipe because I didn’t have exactly all the ingredients listed – and I like lots o’ garlic!

Chana Dal w/Tomatoes (serves two hungry, hungry hippos)

  • 1 c. Chana Dal, soaked overnight
  • 2 tbsp minced, peeled fresh garlic
  • 2 tbsp garlic, smashed into a paste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 whole dried red chili
  • salt to taste
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded & chopped

Combine the lentils, ginger, garlic, spices and red chili into a stew pot and cover with about an inch of water.  Cook at a simmer until soft about 25 minutes.  Remove the cloves, and stir in the chopped tomatoes and cook about 5 more minutes.  Eat with the Chapati and enjoy!

Sorry I’ve been so MIA recently, but to be honest I’m starting to get pretty nervous about the Boston Marathon so I haven’t been blogging or anything a ton – just trying to keep busy and keep my mind off the 26.2 miles looming ahead!!  😯

April 15, 2010 at 7:24 pm 3 comments

Sushi time!

Today is one of those days that makes me absolutely love living in NYC.  I went for a run this morning and when I got to Central Park there was a big race going on, so I ended up running alongside hundreds of people, which kind of made my run more fun for me.  It’s not quite hot out yet, but warm enough to run in t-shirts… perfect weather in my opinion.

After my run I was in the mood for something fresh tasting… I don’t know what it is about warmer, sunny weather but it makes me crave fresh and colorful foods.  I had an avocado laying about so I decided to try my hand at sushi!  

Asian-Fusion Avocado Puree

  • 3/4 avocado, scooped out
  • 1/2 tsp wasabi powder
  • 1/4 c. fresh cilantro
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 c. water
  • salt to taste

I sliced up a quarter of an avocado and then used the remainder for my Asian-Fusion Avocado Puree… a little South American, a little Japanese… it turned out quite good!  I used my avocado puree as the base layer on my Nori sheets, then some julienned carrots & daikon radish, topped with the fresh sliced avocado.  

I thinned out the leftover avocado puree and used it as a dipping sauce for my sushi rolls.  I ended up having quite a bit left over, so I had some tortilla chips help me out with the rest. 😉  This was a really great, filling lunch and took no time at all to make!  I think the part that took the longest was the puree just because I was adjusting seasonings and I went along.  Enjoy your Sunday everyone!

April 11, 2010 at 12:54 pm 4 comments

Good ol’ Italian!

Que pasa amigos?  Sorry I’ve been almost nonexistent this past week!  It’s been one of those craaazy weeks, I’ve had something literally every night – including tonight actually!  My big sis and I met after work for a super intense spinning class at Equinox followed by dinner at the lovely Candle Café.  Vegan gourmet my friends… it’s one of those places where Omnis and Veg-heads alike can enter gustatory heaven.  However, as I don’t normally travel to the gym with my camera I don’t have any pics to show you L  Wait, don’t leave – how about I share my dinner from Wednesday night instead??  

Wednesday I got home a bit late because I had an organizing meeting for a non-profit that is very dear to me.  It’s called PowerPlay NYC.  It’s a really wonderful organization that educates and empowers girls through sports and life skills/nutrition workshops throughout the five boroughs of NYC, with a special concentration on low-income and underserved communities.  However, this organization deserves it’s own post, so more on that plus volunteer opportunities later – on to the eats!

I had little time for cooking, so a raw dinner had major appeal last night.  I had some zucchinis lying about which I quickly spiralized and then topped with some homemade Fresh Tomato Sauce!  I had some stovetop popcorn popped in olive oil on the side because I was in the mood for something light to eat while I watched my beloved Yankees (tear that Melky is gone…).  This is a wonderful recipe and really a blank canvas for adding in your own additions.

Fresh Tomato Sauce (makes 1-2 servings depending on appetite)

  • 2 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 6 sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 dried red chilis
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch (about ¼ cup) fresh basil, julienned
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

I threw the fresh and sundried tomatoes, garlic and chili peppers into Vinny (my Vita Mix) and blended on low until I had a well-combined, but not completely smooth sauce.  I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t eating any chunks of garlic!  Then I added in the basil leaves, salt & pepper to taste and blended a few seconds longer.

The result – a light, yet very flavorful summer tomato sauce.  The sundried tomatoes really add a nice dept to the overall taste and the peppers add just a little underlying spice, but don’t actually create any heat so the sauce isn’t overpowered. You could really mix it up though – add some nuts or nut milk for a creamier sauce, add some fresh oregano, thyme, onions, etc.  It might also be nice with some spinach & fresh lemon added in at the end.  Experiment & enjoy!

April 8, 2010 at 9:03 pm 2 comments

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